MobileMe & the Cloud

I was a little disappointed with the Apple news today. I was honestly expecting a 32gb iPhone. I like the idea of 3G, but right now Mishawaka and Traverse City are not part of ATT’s 3G areas.

I am very interested, however, in the Apps for iPhone and MobileMe. MobileMe is the next incarnation of .Mac, which started as iTools back in the day. I’ve subscribed to .Mac since 2000!

MacWorld reports:

Thanks to MobilMe’s AJAX-enabled interface, users will have a similar experience using the Web applications as they do with desktop software. For example, you can drag and drop calendar events to move then as in iCal and narrow down contacts as you type as in Address Book. The e-mail software also works a lot like Mail, letting you drag messages into folders to file them away, and includes a quick reply feature that pops up a box to input and send your reply to a message.

MobileMe also offers online storage for photos, documents, and files. The .Mac Web Gallery has been incorporated, and you can e-mail photos directly from an iPhone. You can also move photos around just like you can in iPhoto. iDisk also gains a Web interface, from which you can e-mail links for users to download files directly from the Web rather than including them as e-mail attachments.

I was very happy to see Merlin Mann’s post today about MobileMe. I follow him on MacBreak Weekly and at his sites and have been intrigued by his take on localized computing and the future great Cloud of data. He writes:

As someone who’s had strong feelings, high hopes, and occasional disappointmens with .Mac, I’m going to spend some time over the next few weeks looking into what these changes will mean for the always-on knowledge worker — particularly now that the service is clearly moving toward tighter integration with iPhones, the iPod Touch, and web-based usage. But first, just a few things to note here (quickly and on first impression):

  • Lovely tweaks – This is where Apple just obliterates the competition; all the tiny little changes we saw to GUI and workflow on the MobileMe web apps and related iPhone apps reflect a lot of thought and look well-suited for real-world usage. I can’t wait to see the improvements to iPhone’s Calendar and Contacts, in particular. Kudos, team. An iPhone that makes MobileMe easy and transparent to use is a big win all around. (N.B.: as you might expect, Apple’s site has many lovely demonstration videos in their MobileMe section)
  • Love the “Push” – No longer having to physically plug in your iPhone to sync stuff like Mail, Calendar, and Contacts is terrific for the multiple-device user. Knowing that (at least as long as you’re online) everything matches up just means big peace of mind to me. Maybe most importantly, one hopes that the new Push approach addresses some of the previous sync problems that have plagued .Mac users (Nuclear reset, anyone?).
  • Love the (baby) steps toward true cloud computing – Having such gorgeous and functional apps on the iPhone is a big step in the right direction. How the services that those apps access evolve will be interesting to watch; adding something like broader support for Preferences syncing and better/easier iPhone password management would also be big wins.
What I’ve heard Mann ponder on the podcasts is the eventual cloud of all of your data – safely stored in the cloud, that you can access anywhere – with any number of devices. Your documents. Your photos. Your music. Anywhere.
It will be interesting to see how libraries explore MobileMe and the eventual cloud – in whatever form or shape it eventually takes on.